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Firebite - What We Know So Far

After more than a decade battling zombies on "The Walking Dead" and its various spin-offs, AMC is finally turning its attention to a new fantasy horror threat.

"Firebite," a new Australian series that follows indigenous vampire hunters trying to rid their homeland of the blood-sucking threat, is set to premiere later this year or early next year on the streaming service AMC+. The series was created by Australian filmmakers Warwick Thornton, who directed the films "Samson & Delilah," "The Darkside," and "Sweet Country," and Brendan Fletcher, whose work has primarily been in the documentary realm. It's a joint venture between AMC Studios and See-Saw Films.

"It's incredibly exciting to be bringing Warwick and Brendan's unique vision to the screen with a high-octane explosive story that draws on the complex themes of colonisation and racial prejudice, driven by indigenous storytellers," said Rachel Gardner, See-Saw Films' head of drama Australia, according to Variety.

At first glance those seem like some pretty meaty issues for a fantasy series about hunting vampires to tackle. How will "Firebite" tell that story? And when can audiences expect to see it on their screens? Here's everything we know so far.

When will Firebite premiere?

We have a rough sense of when to expect "Firebite" to hit the streaming service, but not much more than that.

The series –– there's no mention of a "Season 1," so there's a chance it's only ever meant to be a limited affair –– will feature eight episodes, each an hour long, and is expected to debut on AMC's newish streaming service sometime "this winter," according to Deadline.

Given that the casting announcement released August 23 says that the series "just" entered production, maybe don't expect it to land on December 21. Given its setting, the series will certainly involve some remote filming, with one report saying the series will be shot in and around the "traditional Country of the Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara people of the Western Desert and Kaurna People of the Adelaide Plains in and around Adelaide," as well as the regional town of Coober Pedy. 

Given its choice of antagonists, night shoots seem all-but-assured. And given its fantasy genre, there could be a fair amount of post-production work to be done, depending on exactly how fantastical the series is aiming to be.

Who is in the cast of Firebite?

The August 23 announcement included the names of four of the cast, including the two central vampire hunters.

The experienced Tyson will be played by Rob Collins, an Australian actor best-known for playing lead roles on television series in his home country. Collins starred as one of two feuding brothers in "Cleverman," a series that incorporates elements of traditional Aboriginal stories into a modern, dystopian setting. He also had a small role in the 2020 Netflix action film "Extraction."

Joining him as a hunter will be the young actress Shantae Barnes-Cowan, who will play Shanika. Barnes-Cowan had previously appeared (as did Collins) in the Australian political drama "Total Control," and the nuclear testing drama "Operation Buffalo."

Two other actors were also named in the announcement, though without any specifics for the roles they would be playing: Yael Stone and Callan Mulvey. Stone is best-known for playing the optimistic but deceitful Lorna Morello on prison drama "Orange is the New Black," but she also appeared in the Amazon drama "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and in the comedy-drama "High Maintenance." 

Mulvey is an action movie veteran who has appeared in "Outlaw King," "Zero Dark Thirty," and "300: Rise of an Empire." He also played the (arguably underused) weapons trafficker Anatoli Knyazev in "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" and Jack Rollins in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Avengers: Endgame." (If that name does nothing for you, he was the first guy to attack Steve Rogers in the elevator fight.)

What is the plot of Firebite?

The casting announcement included the detail that Tyson and Shanika would be on a quest to "battle the last colony of vampires in the middle of the South Australian desert." It sounds like they'll be on their own for much of the mission, which makes it seem likely that Stone and Mulvey will be portraying some of the vampiric antagonists.

Whether that's the last of many colonies that once populated South Australia or the last of the world's colonies of vampires, which happens to be in South Australia, is currently unclear, but we do have a little more information from the June news release announcing the series. Back then, Deadline said the series would take place not just in the desert but in an remote mining town set in the middle of the desert, a setting that provides vampires with plenty of underground space in which to hide out from the sunlight.

In any case, it seems like it's no accident that the vampires found themselves in this remote corner of the world. Apparently the colony was "shipped from Britain to Australia in 1788 by the colonial superpower to eradicate the indigenous populations," which means Tyson and Shanika's mission might be personal, or even cultural-historical.